The system comprises 29 campuses divided into three segments: 15 community colleges, nine state universities and the five University campuses. Each of the state universities and community colleges has its own Board of Trustees, as does the University of Massachusetts system. Links to individual campuses' websites and a map of the campus locations are available on the Public Higher Education campus directory.
The Massachusetts public higher education system serves over 260,000 students annually and in the 2008–2009 academic year alone awarded more than 33,000 degrees and certificates. Find more information about the campuses on the Datacenter page.
The public higher education institutions participate in several systemwide programs, including MassTransfer, the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program, and the Commonwealth Honors Program. Find more information about collaborations like these on the Systemwide Initiatives page.
Massachusetts Public Higher Education is a SYSTEM with a distinguished past, increasing and measurable accomplishments, and dedicated to being recognized as having one of the nation's most outstanding array of institutions. It comprises 15 community colleges, nine state universities, and five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The system exists to provide accessible, affordable, relevant, and rigorous programs that adapt to meet changing individual and societal needs for education and employment. The public system is committed to continuous improvement and accountability in all aspects of teaching and learning. The Board of Higher Education, together with each respective Board of Trustees, expects all students, faculty and staff to be held to exacting standards in the performance of their roles and responsibilities.
The fifteen Community Colleges (also known as the Governor Foster Furcolo Community Colleges) offer open access to high quality, affordable academic programs, including associate degree and certificate programs. They are committed to excellence in teaching and learning and provide academic preparation for transfer to four-year institutions, career preparation for entry into high demand occupational fields, developmental coursework, and lifelong learning opportunities.
Community colleges have a special responsibility for workforce development and through partnerships with business and industry, provide job training, retraining, certification, and skills improvement. In addition, they assume primary responsibility, in the public system, for offering developmental courses, programs, and other educational services for individuals who seek to develop the skills needed to pursue college-level study or enter the workforce.
Rooted in their communities, the colleges serve as community leaders, identifying opportunities and solutions to community problems and contributing to the region’s intellectual, cultural, and economic development. They collaborate with elementary and secondary education and work to ensure a smooth transition from secondary to post-secondary education. Through partnerships with baccalaureate institutions, they help to promote an efficient system of public higher education.
The community colleges offer an environment where the ideas and contributions of all students are respected. Academic and personal support services are provided to ensure that all students have an opportunity to achieve academic and career success. No eligible student shall be deprived of the opportunity for a community college education in Massachusetts because of an inability to pay tuition and fees.
There are six comprehensive state universities—Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, Westfield State University, and Worcester State University—and three specialized colleges—Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The six comprehensive state universities integrate liberal arts and sciences programs with professional education, and the three specialized colleges also focus on academic areas identified in the college’s name.
Each state university places a special emphasis on teaching and lifelong learning and promotes a campus life that fosters intellectual, social, and ethical development. Committed to excellence in instruction and to providing responsive, innovative, and educational programs of high quality, they seek to develop each student’s critical thinking, quantitative, technological, oral, and written communication skills, and practical appreciation of the arts, sciences, and humanities as they affect good citizenship and an improved quality of life. The state universities provide a campus environment where the ideas, values, perspectives, and contributions of all students are respected.
Massachusetts state universities are strategically located to facilitate access to baccalaureate and master’s degree programs for Commonwealth residents who meet their high standards for admission. In recognition of their responsibilities to Massachusetts taxpayers to manage their resources efficiently and to maintain tuition and fees at a level as low as possible, each university has a distinctive academic focus based upon its established strengths and regional and state needs. Each university is a leader and resource for the community and contributes to the region’s cultural, environmental, and economic development.
The University’s mission is to provide an affordable education of high quality and conduct programs of research and public service that advance our knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth.